Virginia baseball victorious in seesaw series opener

Virginia (15-11, 4-6 ACC) emerged on top, 10-7 in a back and forth battle against Pittsburgh (12-10, 2-8 ACC) at Charles L. Cost Field. The Cavaliers overcame a pair of deficits in the contest, took the lead for good in the sixth inning and held off a late charge by the Panthers.

Senior Bennett Sousa (North Palm Beach, Fla.) pitched the final two innings to earn his third save of the season. The tying run came to the plate in the ninth inning but Sousa struck out Nico Popa on three pitches to seal the Cavaliers 15th win of the season. Popa had homered in the inning prior.

The Cavalier offense scored in six of its nine plate appearances and collected 13 hits, the most in 10 ACC games this year. Junior Andy Weber (Aurora, Ohio) went 3-for-6 with two doubles and three RBI in the contest. He provided two of the final three Cavalier runs, including a two-out single in the top of the ninth to make the score 10-7. The junior second baseman was inches from a grand slam in the Virginia fourth-inning rally and settled for his fourth double in the last two games.

Virginia and Pittsburgh combined for six errors, tied the most by the Cavaliers and an opponent in a single game this season. Starting pitcher Derek Casey (Mechanicsville, Va.) was responsible for four of the seven runs that came across during his seven-inning stint on the mound. The right-hander struck out nine batters and earned his 12th career victory. He has pitched into the seventh inning in his last four starts.

Freshman Tanner Morris (Crozet, Va.) put together his second three-hit performance in ACC play with a 3-for-5 effort at the plate. Junior Cameron Comer (Powell, Ohio) and senior Justin Novak (Tokyo, Japan) rounded out the multi-hit performers in the Cavalier lineup, each collecting two base knocks. Comer blasted his first career home run to tie the game up in the top of the second inning.

The Cavaliers did not relinquish the lead after freshman Alex Tappen (Lower Gwynedd, Pa.) broke a 6-6 tie with a single up the middle in the top of the sixth inning. The RBI was the second of two on the day.

The middle game of the three-game series is scheduled for Saturday (March 31) at 3 p.m. Virginia will send Daniel Lynch to the mound and he will be opposed by right-hander Matt Pidich.

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